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Imagine this, mama. You have a baby, you’re sore and swollen, and you have to zip up a pair of jeans. I’ve already lost you? Great, me too. Because when you’re postpartum, it’s all about leggings, friend. And as a mama who practically lives in leggings (our editor calls me the legging queen), I can assure you that no one is better equipped to help you find the best postpartum leggings than I am!
Postpartum leggings have a lot of built in support features that are great for your changing body after baby. Plus, leggings are irrefutably comfortable as all get out, so it makes sense that so many of us live in them during pregnancy and postpartum.
As usual for this site, we love to share recommendations with you of things we actually love and use. That’s why we’re rounding up the most comfy and stylish mama-approved postpartum leggings we can find.
When you’re dealing with all the discomforts of the postpartum experience, trust us–you’re going to love these!
What Are Postpartum Leggings?
So what’s the difference is between maternity leggings, regular ‘ole leggings, and postpartum leggings? Fair question. Glad you asked.
There are 2 key differences between postpartum leggings and more traditional ones.
(1) Postpartum leggings are supportive
Your uterus will still be swollen for around six weeks after birth (longer for some women), so it’s likely that you will still have what looks like a swollen belly. Also, your pregnancy may have wreaked a bit of havoc on your pelvic floor, and those muscles need some loving support.
Postpartum leggings will help support your smaller belly and pelvic floor muscles, keeping you comfortable while also aiding in your recovery.
(2) Postpartum leggings are great for recovery
Let’s face it: your body is going through a lot after birth. And while everything hurt, you may also have a screaming new baby while being so tired you can’t see straight.
You need something to help with your recovery, and you likely aren’t putting in that time on your won. Good postpartum leggings are designed with your achy anatomy in mind.
What to Look for in the Best Postpartum Leggings
When choosing the best postpartum leggings for you, there are 4 main things to consider:
- Fabric & fit
- Compression vs normal
(1) Fabric & Fit
When searching for postpartum leggings, search for a few simple things.
- Height on your waist – you want high leggings that will hold in your belly and, if applicable, rise above your c-section scar
- Fabric – stretchy, comfortable material is a must. So is fabric that’s machine washable! Look for low percentages of spandex mixed with cotton (often the softest), rayon (tends to have good compression), and modal (usually the softest on the skin)
- Compression – you may want compression to support your belly and pelvic floor muscles, or you might be someone who’s more comfortable in something loose and stretchy. While all postpartum leggings are stretchy, some provide more support than others, so look for the best fit for your needs.
(2) Compression vs. Normal
Compression leggings are meant to provide support for your weak abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. They’re especially helpful on days when you’ll be up walking around, doing chores, running errands, or if you’re exercising. The added support can work wonders for your body.
But sometimes, we just want to be comfortable. On days when you won’t move as much, normal leggings without built-in compression features are a perfect fit!
When purchasing leggings created specifically for maternity postpartum, order your pre-pregnancy size. If you’re buying normal leggings to wear during the postpartum period, we recommend sizing up by one size.
If you’re ever unsure what size to buy, be sure to consult the size chart for the particular product you want.
Postpartum leggings come in a variety of price ranges, so choose what works best for you.
If you need good support for your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles (for instance, if you’re peeing yourself or feel weak in the abdomen), then paying for more expensive, supportive leggings is well worth the cost. But if that support doesn’t feel necessary, you may have just found a place to save yourself some money.
What Can I Wear to Hide My Post Baby Belly?
This is the question we hear the most from mamas looking for the best postpartum leggings. So let’s address it.
First, the fact that our society has made you feel you need to hide your post baby belly makes us sad. News flash, world: most postpartum women still look about 5 months pregnant after giving birth, and THAT. IS. NORMAL.
The baby doesn’t just come out, and voila!, you’re back to normal. Your uterus needs time to return to normal after housing another human being for nine freaking months. Not to mention that your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles have a whole lot of healing to do, which is why we’re talking about support far more than hiding your belly bulge.
That said, I know that many of us have some VERY REAL struggles with postpartum body image. As much as I rage against it, I struggled with it too. I think most of us do.
And the reality is that postpartum leggings can help hide your still-shrinking belly because they support and (minimally) compress your belly. Many of them are also extra high, which is great for covering c-section scars and good for belly coverage.
Plus, it’s just easy to throw on a maternity or nursing top over them to help cover your belly if you are more comfortable that way.
So to answer your question, postpartum leggings are a good choice for hiding your postpartum belly. But I hope you don’t feel like you have to.
Can I Wear Leggings After Giving Birth?
The short answer to this is “yes.” There is no real reason (that we know of) that you shouldn’t be able to wear leggings after giving birth. If you’re at risk for blood clots, compression leggings could actually be a really great idea (compression in your legs, NOT your tummy!)
However, if you’ve had a c-section, you might want to consider buying leggings specifically for c-section mamas (we’ll get to this soon). Regular leggings could put pressure on your incision site, which might be uncomfortable for you.
If you’ve delivered vaginally, you will require different postpartum care, and leggings are your friend.
Leggings that are actually made for postpartum mamas take compression, fabric, and sizing into effect.
Many brands use fabrics that are cooling and that will wick moisture away from your body. Postpartum leggings are also sized a bit differently to account for air to flow more freely and your body to not feel quite as restricted in them as you might feel in a pair of regular leggings.
Also, any pair of postpartum leggings worth its salt will be SEAMLESS. You want to make sure that no seam is getting anywhere near your vagina or c-section scar!
The Best Postpartum Leggings of 2021
Now that you’ve learned more than you ever wanted to know about postpartum leggings, here’s what you’ve been waiting for.
These leggings have been tested by the thousands of mamas in our community, the ones on our editorial team, and in some cases, even our favorite pelvic floor therapists. Without further ado, the best postpartum leggings:
We put these first for a reason, mama. Are they pricey? Yes. Are they worth it? 100% These leggings are the top recommendation by most of our favorite pelvic floor therapists, and it’s no wonder why. The founder of Bao Bei is a pelvic floor therapist herself, so she knows what she’s doing to support our changing bodies!
These high waisted leggings are designed with just the right amount of compression to support your abdomen, low back, pelvis, and legs. The fabric wicks away moisture, essential for those adjusting hormones and days when baby is constantly connected to you. And the high waist helps cover your belly and provides comfortable coverage when nursing.
Good to Know
Good for day-to-day and exercise. Size up if you’re looking for support early postpartum.
These are a cult favorite among mamas, and for good reason! Blanqi makes great leggings, and the fact that they have actual postpartum/nursing support leggings just ups the ante even further.
These leggings have a high waist to support your postpartum belly and give “gentle midsection compression.” Blanqi also uses breathable fabric to wick away moisture and keep you comfortable while you have a baby on you and you’re feeling sweaty and/or covered in fluids (which is, like, all the time now).
Good to Know
With moderate support, they can be worn for exercise, but work best day-to-day. Be sure to follow washing instructions to avoid the fabric pulling.
Okay, first off: who doesn’t LOVE Target? This store manages to combine style with decent prices, and we are here for that. Their maternity legging and postpartum legging game is pretty dang strong, too. Check out these postpartum leggings by the Ingrid and Isabel brand.
They have over-the-belly support that doesn’t hug or constrict, and the support is light to moderate, so they’re good for days around the house or running errands. Pair them with this nursing yoga bra and sporty nursing top, and you’re sure to be almost as adorable as your new kid. Almost.
Good to Know
We recommend these leggings for gentle exercise like walking baby around the neighborhood or doing some gentle yoga. Their support is not strong enough for more intense exercise.
These leggings are a great, affordable option for everyday wear around the house or for errands. Moms love their breathability, and of course the fact that they’re seamless!
With moisture wicking fabric and abdominal support, these leggings check all the important postpartum boxes. The great thing is that the support is moderate enough to make them comfortable for everyday wear.
Good to Know
The support on these leggings is moderate, so wear them for gentle days or walks, but toss on a more supportive pair for more intense exercise.
5. Kindred Bravely Postpartum Leggings
If you’ve been reading this website for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me rave in some form or fashion about Kindred Bravely. In fact, we feature them pretty heavily in our post on the best postpartum pajamas AND nursing pajamas.
Because they are amazing!
The Louisa Maternity and Postpartum Support Leggings are our favorites. You can wear them in both your maternity and postpartum periods, and you won’t regret the purchase. Where some other brands don’t hold up as well, these have premium fabric that won’t lose its shape after you wash them eleventy million times.
The Louisa leggings also have an ultra high waist that reaches almost to your underboob (praise be!). This is great because it means these leggings transition easily from maternity wear to postpartum wear. Oh, and did we mention there’s an option that has POCKETS?????
You can stash your phone in your pocket when you wander the house so you don’t get stuck holding baby with no phone for entertainment.
Good to Know
These leggings are great for everyday wear, but the moderate support isn’t the best for intense exercise. Oh, and if you love them as much as we do and want multiple pairs to get you through pregnancy and postpartum, they have an amazing bundle and save option!
Love and Fit actually makes premium postpartum workout gear, which we love! Nursing sports bras and actual clothing you can wear when you work out after baby are too few and far between.
When your doctor clears you for exercise, we recommend their postpartum leggings. These leggings have an ultra high waist with moderate compression, which is great for light exercise. They are also seamless and have pockets!
Good to Know
These leggings are great for all types of exercise–you’ll feel comfortable and supported. Also, they’re non-slip, which is an especially unique and amazing feature in exercise leggings.
Modal is made from beech tree pulp, and not only is it environmentally sustainable, it’s also soft as hell. The belly panel has a two fold system, which makes it great for either maternity or postpartum wear (you can wear it over or under the belly).
Good to Know
For everyday wear, not for exercise. But they’re amazing and we know you’re going to love them. We do recommend them with longer shirts, as they can turn sheer when bending over on some people.
These will pull over your postpartum belly, and they come in a bunch of pretty colors! These are also seamless, which means there isn’t a seam between your legs to irritate your already irritated vagina. They are also a steal at under $20.
Good to Know
Great for everyday, but not the best for intense exercise!
We’ve loved sharing our favorite postpartum leggings with you! What brands did we miss that you love?
Postpartum Leggings FAQ
Leggings can be a comfortable and supportive option after giving birth! Maternity compression leggings are great in the 1-2 weeks immediately following birth. After that, we recommend supporting your pelvic floor muscles with postpartum support leggings.
Some people choose to move straight from maternity leggings back to regular stretchy leggings. While there’s nothing wrong with this choice, we recommend using postpartum support or compression leggings to support your weakened pelvic floor in the months and year following birth. Combined with appropriate pelvic floor exercises, your bladder, abs, and lower back will thank you!
To be most comfortable following c-section, stick to leggings that rise well above your c-section scar.
Postpartum leggings and maternity leggings both provide necessary support at different stages. Maternity leggings are made for larger bellies and carrying more weight, but they’re appropriate to wear for 1-2 weeks postpartum as your uterus continues to shrink. After that, we suggest switching to postpartum leggings, which have the support and compression you need for your weakened pelvic floor muscles.
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Katy Huie Harrison, PhD, is an author, mom, recurrent miscarriage survivor, & owner of Undefining Motherhood. She lives in Atlanta with her husband (affectionately known on the internet as “Husband,”) son (Jack), and dog (Charlotte). She believes our society puts too many expectations on women that make womanhood and motherhood restrictive. Her goal is to shift the paradigm about what it means to be a woman and mother, giving all women a greater sense of agency over their own lives. You can find Katy and her work featured in places like CNN’s Headline News, Romper, Scary Mommy, Demeter Press’s Motherhood and Social Exclusion, & more.